By Lesley Ronaldson, EMEA Vice President, Gong

It’s becoming clear that AI will likely change many facets of how we live and work.

I’m a firm believer that AI is not going to replace humans but will instead act as a tool to enhance how we get work done. With that said, it’s critical that all companies, no matter the industry, learn to embrace this technology instead of working against it.

As a sales leader, I have seen the value of AI in bolstering efficiency and boosting revenue. Salespeople spend the majority of their day on administrative drudgery such as updating the CRM. A little-known and alarming fact is that an average sales rep conversation with a prospect is 6000 words, yet the average number of words that make it into a CRM is less than 30! Think how much knowledge is lost as employees change roles and move on.  And another scary fact from a Gartner study shows that reps only spend about a quarter of their time selling. In these instances, adopting AI tools can free up hours of a salesperson’s time so they can prioritise deepening relationships with prospects, or closing more deals. And also helps organisations capture a mine of useful information which otherwise remains in the heads of their frontline salespeople.

Understanding the potential and limits of AI

Some businesses are wary of AI tools, and concerns about accidentally feeding sensitive customer or company data to large language models such as ChatGPT are well-founded. However, these can be addressed in several ways—from establishing clear internal guidelines on the use of AI tools to hosting workshops about using AI responsibly.

Another reason for this wariness is a worry that AI tools may replace humans. Personally, I believe that AI tools will act as powerful copilots in our jobs rather than replace us. Technology itself is never a silver bullet or a stand-in for a person’s gut instincts, empathy, or emotional intelligence.

Instead, it provides the greatest ROI when implemented strategically and as a complement to human skillsets, acting as a powerful multiplier of ability. This is especially true today as increasingly sophisticated AI tools are developed. In turn, sales are one of the best places to see this powerful combination in action.

Enhanced efficiency and productivity

Businesses can learn a lot from looking at how sales teams are streamlining their operations while at the same time bolstering productivity and company bottom lines alike. Admittedly, the potential of AI tools to deliver significant productivity and efficiency gains is not new. However, the advent of generative and predictive AI has taken these to new heights. In fact, at Gong, we have been harnessing this potential since 2016, and using powerful AI technology to help revenue teams increase their win rates by 26%.

Eighty-four per cent of sales leaders say that improving pipeline performance is their top priority. With revenue intelligence, driven by AI, sales reps can streamline their workflows, offload repetitive tasks, learn from the winning plays of top reps, and get AI-backed recommendations on what to do, and when. AI can successfully predict the probability of a deal closing better than a rep or sales manager can, meaning it’s a more precise way to do sales forecasting.

It’s encouraging that many businesses are open-minded to this technology and its transformative potential. Research from Gong shows that 82% of British businesses are keen to embrace more AI technology, with 40% believing it will be imperative to the future success of their business operations.

If similar learnings are applied at scale, AI can go a long way in helping with the UK’s productivity challenges. After all, having grown just 0.6% since the financial crisis, it’s clear that business productivity has become a pressing issue in the UK.

Creating a future-proof workforce whilst maintaining a competitive edge 

Retaining a competitive edge is a top motivation for businesses wanting to adopt AI into their current business models. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2025, GenAI will be a workforce partner for 90% of companies worldwide.

It seems the younger generation understands its importance. Research commissioned by Gong shows that 69% of business students think AI is here for good. They should embrace it. 95% highlighted they already have an understanding of AI and the role it plays in business. Soon, companies that don’t embrace AI will find themselves on the back foot when hiring talent who demand it to remove much of the drudgery of their work.

With AI adoption continuing to grow in the enterprise, companies must demonstrate the value of their investments. AI is not just about keeping up with technological advancements. It’s about enhancing the way we get things done—in sales and beyond. Companies that integrate AI into their workflows will be better positioned to succeed.


About the author

Lesley Ronaldson is an inspirational GTM leader with a proven track record of managing, guiding, and empowering high-performing teams. With an extensive background in tech, Lesley’s journey encompasses pivotal roles at Gong, Asana and Smartling, along with significant tenures at industry giants LinkedIn and Dell.

 

 

 


Reference – 1. AI Research Story – Survey conducted by Censuswide. 500 UK business decision makers at SMEs with 20+ employees (18+), between 9.6.23 and 13.6.23.